I have been tying trout flies for years but when it comes to salt flies I have found things a little different. This is because there are now a whole lot of different factors to consider when tying flies that you don't need to with fresh water. Here I am going to cover some of these factors and some insights into what I have found.
This is mainly to do with larger flies, deep water and casting distances. Trying to cast big heavy flies all day can be tiring and different materials also have weight when wet. e.g. rabbit will hold more weight than Slinky. Most synthetics don't hold water and will be easier to cast. I mainly fish shorelines where water is under 2 metres so I weigh mine lightly even when I am tying a bigger fly as I don’t want to be getting hooked up on bottom all the time.
Ease of use
The ease of tying a fly with a material can be a major factor as you will then enjoy tying it and also cut down on the time it takes. There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours just to tie a couple of flies especially if you lose a few each time you go out.
This is critical as this will effect the amount of fish you will catch. There are two main factors here and that is movement and bulk. You need to decide what material you want to use to how much movement and the action in the water. Mainly I will use softer materials for the tail and stiffer materials at the head therefore gaining both movement and bulk.
There are two main things here and that is bulk and also hold shape. Some materials look great when you tie them but need maintenance to keep the shape. EP is a classic example of a material that needs work to keep its shape. Also how it is tied will determine how it stays in place.
Clousers are designed so that they do not tangle and hold their shape . Tying the belly down the length of the hook is important to keep the materials from wrapping round the hook. the stiffer the material the less the wrapping but the less movement you get.
Weight is required to get your fly into the right area especially for snapper but this will also mean your fly will be harder to cast. This may just mean you need to be closer to where the action is or tying the right weight for the depth of water you are fishing. Generally in estuaries and flats I keep the flies light and deep drop off's like Waiheke I will use heavier flies.
Over time your will find works for you but even then you cant help but getting more creative.